Colourful Food


What shades are in your shopping cart? What is the actual colour of your food?
In the kitchen and on your plate, everything looks better in colour. I’m thinking field greens, delicious tomatoes, yellow peppers, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and so on. I am not referring to neon-coloured food products and beverages like blue power drinks, though. As you reach for coloured foods, consider how they artificially colour and flavour that stuff.

For decades, there have been studies about food dyes and their link to cancers, allergies, and behavioural issues in children, not to mention their affect on our world in production alone. The results and linkages are astounding, and regardless of the ability for companies to claim that they are safe, you are still taking a risk on your body and on your kids’ bodies that you might not want to take.

In the EU and UK, the big companies have already started phasing dyes and other toxins out of their products…because their population has demanded it. Remember, we might expect to find toxic stuff in junk food (candy, cakes, cocktails), but it’s important that you read up on your yogurt, cheeses, vitamins, and even crackers…be your own best advocate and read the label every time. You will surprise yourself!

These are the colourings that I deem acceptable for my family:

  • Beet and carrot juice
  • Annatto (plant-derived)
  • Turmeric (actually good for you—an antioxidant)

These are the absolute “not in my shopping cart” ingredients:

  • Anything with a dreaded numbered colour (i.e. Red 40)
  • Any “lakes” in an ingredient name
  • Tartrazine (even in conventional mac & cheese!)
  • Sneaky ingredient names—stuff I cannot pronounce and/or understand

Although I encourage you to be colourful, don’t paint your plate by number, use your own palette.

Lisa Borden is an eco-advocate and mother of three, whose full-service marketing firm, Borden Communications + Design Inc., is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living. She is a dedicated workaholic, admitting that it takes a lot of time and effort to change the world, especially in her non-preachy, fun, engaging and inspiring ways.


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